To kick off the opening of a new photography exhibit along the Atlanta Beltline, organizers will host a July 7 ceremony at the Westside Trail across from Gordon White Park, featuring the exhibit’s curator: author and historian Karcheik Sims-Alvarado, CEO of Preserve Black Atlanta. The opening ceremony begins at 3 p.m.

“Atlanta and the Civil Rights Movement, 1944-1968” will be presented across four miles of the Beltline’s Eastside and Westside trails, making it the longest outdoor exhibit on civil and human rights in the US.

“Honoring the nation’s civil rights leadership right here on the Atlanta BeltLine is so fitting considering that many of the movement’s leaders lived in BeltLine neighborhoods,” explained Brian P. McGowan, president and CEO of Atlanta Beltline Inc. “We are committed to using our public art program to celebrate and highlight the history and unique culture of our neighborhoods — it is this culture that makes Atlanta great.

Art on the Atlanta Beltline is the city’s largest temporary public art exhibition and showcases the work of hundreds of visual artists, performers and musicians along the Atlanta BeltLine corridor. The exhibition showcases how art strengthens and beautifies current and former industrial areas and creates signature spaces exemplifying the transformation of the city through the Atlanta BeltLine.

“Atlanta and the Civil Rights Movement, 1944-1968,” which runs through Dec. 1, will showcase photography from Sims-Alvarado’s book “Images of America,” a pictorial history of the modern civil rights movement in Atlanta, curated from photographs largely taken by award-winning Associated Press photojournalists.

Encompassing everything from the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in Smith v. Allwright to mourning the death of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the exhibition illustrates how Atlanta came to be recognized as the epicenter of the Civil Rights Movement.

Sims-Alvarado is optimistic that the exhibit will convey a thorough and meaningful appreciation of African-American persistence.

“The photographs tell a beautiful narrative of the struggle, fortitude and organizational strength of a people determined to eradicate Jim Crow segregation once and for all,” she said. “This massive public exhibition allows families in Atlanta to boast that they have a museum, not bound by walls, just walking distance from their homes or schoolyards.”

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